Text is a witness of many conceptions, people may come and leave but text exists forever. A text communicates; it has the power to interpret and to be interpreted if one has the capacity to interpret it. There is a difference of opinion among scholars on the meaning, importance and interpretation of the text; everybody has his own thought about it.
Interpretation of a text reveals its meaning and massage for the class of people for those it is basically meant or created. There is no unanimous view about the techniques of Interpretation but almost everybody relies on the Hermeneutic theory of interpretation which has given some very luminous thoughts to the world. Paul Ricouer, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Stanley Fish have written about the text and interpreted the same according to their very own method. There are some similarities as well as differences in their opinion about the text and its interpretation.
Paul Ricouer is a theorist who believes in hermeneutic way of interpretation of text. Ricouer recognizes the text as most important, he says text has no limitation and it is eternal. He says a text speaks itself even when its creator is not there to interpret it, a number of interpretations can be done of a text by different methods.
Stanley Fish gave more importance to readers in his theory. Fish declares the readers as members of interpretive community and that text is what the readers interpret. Ricouer and Fish both do not recognizes the author as a source of the meaning of text but their ideas of interpreting the text and the role of text are different. Bothe the philosophers belong to hermeneutic theory of interpreting but differ at some points. Fisher says that readers while reading and interpreting the text has their own meanings and at the end concludes with those meanings on the other hand Ricouer says that readers find the meanings what is conveyed by the text.
Hans- Georg Gadamer, another scholar from Hermeneutic circle has his method of interpreting the text. The ideas of Gadamer are influenced with the traditional values and their interpretation with the new ideas. Paul Ricouer and Hans-Georg Gadamer both the scholars have almost similar Hermeneutic views on the interpretation of text though there are some differences of opinions also between these two philosophers. Both of them have tried to take advantage of the structure of language and explained the same according to their own interpretation. Both the scholars give proper attention to the people who criticized hermeneutic thoughts. Both of them have same opinions about the objectivity of the interpretations of the text. Both the scholars have looked towards Plato and Aristotle and also utilized their model to interpret the texts their way.
There is a difference of opinion between the thoughts of both the scholars. Gadamer believes in tradition and somehow depends upon traditional values to interpret the texts however Ricouer has no faith in traditions and instead of that he believes in various researches and novice scientific methods in different areas. Gardamer opposes research and new scientific methods because according to him this is against the hermeneutic thoughts and would hamper the traditional values however Ricouer is of opinion that such research and scientific methods would be helping in the interpretation of the texts as well as in the expansion of hermeneutic thoughts.
After analyzing views of the three hermeneutic thinkers it can be concluded by saying that all the scholars have similarities and differences in their opinions. Ricouer, Gadamer and Fish all have something to educate the readers. The views of Fish are criticized but there are certain things which cannot be ignored.
Stiver, D. R. (2001). Theology after Ricoeur . Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press .